Monday, October 19, 2015

SC15 Invited Talk Spotlight: Revealing the Hidden Universe - Supercomputer Simulations of Black Hole Mergers

Numerical Relativity simulation of Binary Black Holes  by Campanelli et al, 2006.
Supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies power some of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. Our understanding of these extremely powerful events and their observations has numerous exciting consequences for our understanding of galactic evolution, black hole demographics, plasmas in strong-field gravity, and general relativity.

Near black holes not only have gravity that is so extreme as to generate observable gravitational radiation, but also highly-relativistic gas flows around them can produce powerful electromagnetic signals as the gas is pulled by extreme gravitational forces, and it is believed to be responsible of the launching of the powerful observed jets across the entire universe. 

Simulation of Accretion Dynamics into a Binary Black Hole System by Scott Noble et al. 2014. The figure shows the rest mass density in the midplane of the black hole binary orbit. Insets are progressively zoomed. Black Dots are the Black Holes.
The mathematics involved in modeling these events is very sophisticated because one has to solve the equations of Einstein’s general relativity and magneto-hydrodynamics, all-together.  The problem also requires very advanced supercomputers running programs on tens of thousands of CPUs simultaneously, and the use of sophisticated techniques for data extraction and visualization. Petascale numerical simulation is therefore the only tool available to accurately model these systems.

This talk will review some of the new developments in the field of numerical relativity, and relativistic astrophysics that allow us to successfully simulate and visualize the innermost workings of these violent astrophysical phenomena. More images and material can be found in these links:
Speaker background:
Dr. Manuela Campanelli
Dr. Manuela Campanelli is a professor of Mathematics and Astrophysics at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation. Campanelli was the recipient of the Marie Curie Fellowship (1998), the American Physical Society Fellowship (2009) and the RIT Trustee Award (2014). She was also the Chair of the APS Topical Group in Gravitation in 2013.

Dr. Campanelli has an extensive research experience on Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, astrophysics of black holes and gravitational waves. She is known for groundbreaking work on numerical simulations of binary black hole space times and for explorations of physical effects such as “super kicks” and spin-driven orbital dynamics.

In 2005, she was the lead author of a work that produced a breakthrough on binary black hole simulations. In 2007, she discovered that supermassive black holes can be ejected from most galaxies at speeds of up to 4000km/s. Her more current research focuses on computer simulations of merging supermassive black holes, and on magnetohydrodynamics simulations of their accretion disk and jet dynamics, in connection with both gravitational-wave and electromagnetic observations. She also participates in the LIGO scientific collaboration. The search for gravitational waves from binary black holes and binary neutron stars moved forward in September with the first observing run of the upgraded laser interferometer, Advanced LIGO gravitational wave detectors.

Dr. Campanelli’s research include numerous publications and invited presentations and reviews papers. One of her papers was recently highlighted by the APS as one of the landmark papers of the century  on the subject of general relativity, starting with a contribution from Einstein himself. Her work was highlighted by the American Physical Society’s Focus, New Scientist, Astronomy, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s LIGO Magazine. More info can be found by clicking here.

1 comment:

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